O’Loughlin set for potential last test against fiercest opponent

Adrian Morley tackles Matty Smith during their Easter Monday clash
Adrian Morley tackles Matty Smith during their Easter Monday clash

SEAN O’Loughlin is preparing for a potential final encounter against a player he rates as one of his toughest ever opponents.

Adrian Morley has yet to decide whether he will hang up his boots at the end of the season or play on beyond his 39th birthday.

With second-bottom Salford in real danger of missing out on the top ‘Super 8’ division, it may be Morley’s last trip to Wigan - the venue where he was famously sent off after 12 seconds of a Test match.

England captain O’Loughlin said: “In terms of the forward battle, Moz and Jamie Peacock are the toughest players I’ve ever faced.

“And the fact they’re still going strong, and still have that hunger, speaks volumes.

“It would be massive if this is the last game against us... but people have been thinking that for the last few years, and he’s gone around again!”

Morley has starred for Leeds and Warrington - as well as Sydney Roosters in the NRL - and his towering performances for his country, in more than 50 Test matches, have endeared him to Wigan fans.

Coach Shaun Wane - a friend of Morley’s - says he’s “gutted” he never got the chance to coach the prop, who he rates as one of the country’s best-ever forwards.

“When you play alongside him and he gets an extra 10 or 20 per cent out of players, especially the younger lads who grew up idolising him,” said O’Loughlin.

“I remember watching him when I was young, he was aggressive but he had a game about him as well.

“When he went to Australia, I think everyone loved the fact an English person was doing so well - a bit like when Sam Burgess went - and I’ve been fortunate to play alongside him.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for him.

“When you play him you know he’ll be 100 per cent full on and, if you run near him, you’re going to get hit. Hard.”